Critical thinking: Is being able to cause offence part of free speech?

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The mainstream media often talks about people who have caused offence and how these people need to apologise for what they have done. Additionally, it is not uncommon for people in the public eye also say this.

Based on this, offending someone is tantamount to physically harming them. So, in the same way that there will be a ‘victim’ and a ‘perpetrator’ when someone is physically harmed, it will be as though the same dynamic exists when someone ends up being offended.

The New Weapons

It will then be as if harmful things will come out of one person’s mouth and these things will end up harming the other persons being. The perpetrator may have been a few feet away or even hundreds of miles away, but they will still have been able to harm them.

One way to look at this would be to say that they have some kind of super power, a power that allows them to physically attack another person without going anywhere near them. It is then surely a case when, not if, a number weapons manufacturers will be in touch with them.

Too Much Power

Through the words that come out of their mouth, this person will have an incredible amount of power to cause harm. In addition to people able to cause harm to someone who lives miles away, they will be able to harm more than one person at a time.

In general they might not end anyone’s life, but what they will do is leave people in a bad way. The amount of people that they harm can all depend on how well know they are and if they have a platform online.

The Only Answer

It will be essential for something to be done about someone like this, to make sure that even more people are not harmed. Banning them from using different social media sites will help with this.

Another option would be to put them in jail for what they have done; this would stop them from being able to harm anyone else. Forcing them to resign might also be a way to get them to close their mouth more.

A Safer World

Once someone like this is either too fearful to speak out as much or behind bars, for instance, it will be much better for everyone. People will be able to live their life without having to worry about being harmed by what comes out of this person’s mouth.

That is, of course, until someone else says something that causes harm. But, as more and more people are dealt with for causing harm, the more that the general population will get the message that they need to watch what they say.

Completely Astounded

While there are going to be people who will be on board with what has been said above, there are going to be others who aren’t. As far as they are concerned, offence could be seen as something that is taken, not given.

And the view that someone can be harmed by words in the same way that they can be harmed by physical force, can be seen as having no basis in reality. Hearing about all this can cause them to conclude that they are now living in a world that has a lot in common with a number of the dystopian novels that have been written over the years.

It’s All about Control

In their mind, controlling what people can and can’t say is not going to be about protecting people; what it is going to be about is controlling people. Ultimately, if you control what people say and therefore, what they think, it is naturally going to be a lot easier to keep them inline – to round them up like sheep or cattle.

But, if the establishment was to come clean about what is going on, even more people would resist what is taking place. This is why they need to equate being offended with being physically harmed, as this will create the impression that controlling what people can and can’t say is the moral thing to do.

The Death of Emotional Responsibility

It is then as though someone has absolutely no control over how they respond when they hear or read something that has come out of another person’s mouth; the other person has complete control over their inner world. Through having this outlook, it is going to be normal for them to try to silence others.

What it really comes down to is that they haven’t developed the ability to regulate their own emotions and thoughts, and this is why they have the need to control other people’s thoughts and emotions. Ideally, someone like this would be encouraged to develop this ability; this would allow them to develop self-control and it would make it easier for other people to express themselves.

‘A Useful Idiot’

The trouble is that someone like this is an important part of the plan that is being carried out; without people like this, this plan wouldn’t materialise. Through being so caught up in their own needs and being unable to see the big picture, it is not going to be possible for them to realise that they will suffer in the long-term.

Other people are losing the freedom to speak out, this is clear, and this will also have an impact on what they can say as time goes by. For them to see what it going on, they will need to put their own needs to one side.


Controlling what can and can’t be said in order to make sure that people or certain groups are not offended doesn’t serve a free society. The idea that someone can live in world where they won’t be offended is similar to believing that they can live in a world where they won’t experience pain.

In the same way that pain is part of life, being offended is also part of life – that’s not to say that how someone interprets what they hear or read doesn’t play a part in whether or not they are offended. The only way to avoid being offended would be for someone to isolate themselves from everyone.

This would end up creating another problem, that of feeling cut-off and lonely. Even so, having this experience might allow them to realise that while being offended doesn’t feel good, being around others and expressing themselves is not something they are willing to lose.

Teacher, Prolific writer, author, and coach, Oliver JR Cooper, hails from England. His insightful commentary and analysis covers all aspects of human transformation, including love, partnership, self-love, and inner awareness. With over one thousand eight hundred in-depth articles highlighting human psychology and behaviour, Oliver offers hope along with his sound advice.

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